The Cowgirls played in the Florida regional from Friday to Sunday winning two games against Florida International and one game against No. 1 Florida. Unfortunately for the Cowgirls, their season ended on Sunday with a 5-0 loss to Florida. Let’s talk about how the tournament went for the Cowgirls.
Game 1 vs. FIU
The Cowgirls dropped FIU 2-0 in their first game of the NCAA Florida regional tournament on Friday.
The Cowgirls’ two runs came in the sixth inning on a double from Vanessa Shippy to bring in Madi Holcomb. Then Madi Sue Montgomery got another double to bring in Shippy. The Cowgirls ended the game with three hits off FIU Pitcher Shannon Saile. Saile also had six walks and pitched a complete game.
The Panthers got three hits and no runs off of Oklahoma State pitcher Brandi Needham. Needham had two strikeouts and no walks in the victory.
Game 2 vs. No. 1 Florida
The Cowgirls lost their second game of the tournament 2-0 to host Florida.
The Gators’ two hits came of a single by Aleshia Ocasio where she advanced to second on the throw and brought in two runners.
Florida pitcher Kelly Barnhill gave up one hit and two walks during her complete game.
Oklahoma State Pitcher Brandi Needham pitched again in the second game, throwing four innings and only giving up three hits, two runs and a walk while striking out one. Logan Simunek pitched two no-hit innings, striking out one batter and giving up two walks.
The Cowgirls would then go on to play FIU again in an elimination game.
Game 3 vs. Florida International
The Cowgirl bats got hot in this one, dropping FIU 5-0.
The Cowgirls’ first run came in the second inning off an RBI single from Madi Holcomb. Holcomb would bring in another run in the fourth inning on an RBI single to the pitcher.
Madi Sue Montgomery hit a 2-RBI single in fourth to make the score 4-0 Cowgirls. The Cowgirls clinched their lead on a RBI from Alex Edinger.
FIU pitcher Shannon Saile started the game and pitched four innings where she gave up six hits, four runs and three walks. The Abby Summers pitched 2 1/3 innings and gave up one run on three hits and four walks. Rachel Dwyer came in for 2/3 of an inning and had no hits no runs and no walks.
Oklahoma State pitcher Shea Coats only gave up two hits in the complete game victory. She didn’t walk anybody and struck out three Gators.
This kept the Cowgirls’ dreams alive and would give them at least one more shot at Florida - two if they won the first rematch.
Game 4 vs. Florida
The Cowgirls squeaked past Florida in this game winning 1-0.
The Cowgirls one run came off of an RBI double from Vanessa Shippy to bring in Madi Holcomb.
Brandi Needham pitched another complete game this time only allowing two walks. Needham did however, give up seven hits, luckily the Gators couldn’t get them in. She struck out five batters in the game.
Florida pitcher Kelly Barnhill gave up three hits, one run and a walk in the six innings she pitched. She was mowing down the Cowgirls, getting 13 of her 18 outs on strikeouts.
This win would advance the Cowgirls to the championship.
Championship vs. Florida
The Cowgirls and Gators would need a third and final game to determine the winner of the Gainesville Regional. Unfortunately for the Cowgirls, they weren’t able to replicate the earlier win and dropped the rubber match by a score of 5-0.
The scoring started in the first when Nicole Dewitt hit a homer that scored two. Then in the second, Amanda Lorenz hit an RBI to make the score 3-0 Gators, followed up by another Jordan Roberts RBI to make the score 4-0 Gators in the third inning. The last of the damage was done in the fifth when Sophia Reynoso hit another RBI for the final score of 5-0.
OSU starting pitcher Shea Coats gave up two runs, two hits and a walk in the only inning she pitched. Then Logan Simunek came in and pitched to two batters while failing to record an out. Both batters reached - one with a hit and one on an error. Brandi Needham returned to the circle once again and pitched five innings. She gave up five hits, two runs, two walks and two errors, while walking two and striking out three.
Florida pitcher Delanie Gourley only gave up a hit and a walk, while striking out 11 Cowgirls in their final game of the season.
The Cowgirls had a season they could be proud of finishing with an overall record of 38-25 (12-6 Big 12) and they played some great softball this postseason.
Second year head coach Kenny Gajewski was proud of his squad following their elimination.
So proud of our kids and the way that we fought in the first game. I thought that Brandi was, I didn't think it actually got off to a great start, I didn't think that she was at her best. She was one hit away from taking her out but she just continued to fight and show what she is all about. We had a clutch hit by Vanessa, just a great at-bat and it was a surreal time I think.
I've always wanted to get back here and play these guys to get our kids here to play the very best and I think as good as that win felt for us, it was tough. I felt that whole array of emotions, I am so proud of our kids and what they did, and the way that they fought and I think in that second game we just ran out of gas.
Congratulations to the Cowgirls on their successful season, and we look forward to seeing them improve on it next year.